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The Social Return to Apprenticeship Training

Alfred Dockery, Keith Norris and Thorsten Stromback

Australian Economic Review, 1998, vol. 31, issue 1, 37-46

Abstract: This paper draws together findings from a recent program of research to estimate the social rate of return to apprenticeship training and how the costs of training are distributed. It is estimated that 53 per cent of the costs of training an apprentice are borne by the employer, 28 per cent by the public sector and 19 per cent by the apprentice. This is in sharp contrast to the prediction of economic theory that trainees pay for general training. The social rate of return to male apprenticeships is estimated to be 12.8 per cent. This is in line with previous estimates of the social rate of return to university degrees and supports the case for policy measures to increase the level of apprenticeship training. Reforms taking place under the New Apprenticeships Systems are intended to shift the distribution of costs in line with that predicted by theory by placing a greater cost burden on apprentices for general training and increasing the specificity of training. If employers’ willingness to offer apprenticeships has been a constraint, then these changes should stimulate apprenticeship training.

Date: 1998
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